Saturday, February 21, 2009

Noki's New Chair

Our friends K and C were kind enough to give us some nice furniture. I had to work late on Friday, so E went over to pick it up. I got home, and there it was! Noki's new chair!I don't think he's moved since E brought it in, other than to get food, of course! And isn't he sweet, letting Mosa have the ottoman?

A Birdy Week

This week started with the annual Great Backyard Bird Count on Sunday. The Black-capped Chickadees once again were the most prevalent in the half hour that I was watching. But a couple other types of birds made an appearance too, some Tufted Titmice and 2 kinds of Nuthatches, Red-breasted and White-breasted.

Monday morning there were a couple of doves eating under the feeder with the little red squirrel.

Tuesday morning, while letting Mosa decided if she wanted to brave the snow, I spotted a Pileated Woodpecker on a pine tree about 50 feet from the back of the house. You know, the one that Warner Bros. used to designed Woody Woodpecker. It's the white spot in the very center of this picture:If you want to see a better picture, check out Wikipedia's entry.

Then, this morning, a family of 5 Gold Finches came to our backyard feeders. You can (almost?) see 2 here on the green feeder on the left. Everybody else flew away when I got the camera (of course).
I wonder who's going to show up next?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Squirrely Happiness

Red squirrels make me so happy. They're all twitchy and jittery. They move so quickly, they're a streak across the snow. Yet they're happy to sit and eat seeds under our feeder. We have two red squirrels that frequent our feeders. They have created a network of tunnels that makes it possible to get from the woods to the feeder, across the 40 feet of open space, without being seen. It's so nice to see them in the morning, they snack and skitter while I have my coffee. It's a good start to the day for both of us.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cruisin' to Cozumel

Let me start by telling you that I'm claustrophobic. So it was with some trepidation that I agreed to go on a 4 day cruise from Miami to Cozumel. I figured it was an opportunity to find out whether I could handle the confines of a ship. I'd have a roommate (not E) and no choice in cabins. Should be interesting, n'est pas?

I started by talking with my family dr, and getting some "just in case" panic drugs. The warning label pretty much said, don't plan on doing anything for a few days. I figured someone could carry me to the plane if I ended up taking them, right?

The trip started on Thursday, early (for me) in the morning with a drive to Worcester airport. Yes, Worcester has an airport! The group I went with charted some planes, and we quite literally had our own airport. They even opened a special snack shop for us, since the airline wasn't going to feed us. We flew to Miami without incident, and then took charted buses to the port terminal.

It was about 1pm when I boarded the ship and made my way to my cabin. And that's when the panic attack hit. The hallway was small, the ceiling low, and it was very long. I got to the cabin and broke down. But the cabin itself was fairly large, had a big window to the outside, and had my wonderful roommate, SS, who let me finish freaking out in peace. Then she took me up to the open air deck for some food. And things got a little better. But I never did get used to that hallway.

We had our mandatory lifeboat drill, (did you know, women and children first really is still the rule?), and then I spend most of the afternoon on the open air deck. That evening we set sail, had a reception on the open air deck at sunset, and then dinner. By 9pm SS and I were feeling the early morning, and by 10 we hit the sack.

The next day we had a bunch of morning activities, and unfortunately I had a migraine. I stayed in my cabin most of the day, only coming out for some air and dinner around 6. We were arriving in Cozumel at 10pm, so I took a whole bunch of migraine meds, and we went into the tourist trap. The good thing, the fresh air made me feel better. SS and I had fun finding gifts for our families left at home. By 11 my head was feeling much better, but we were both tired, and had a 9am activity the next day, so we called it a night.

Of course, nobody else on board did. The partying and bright lights finally died sometime around 3:30am, and I was able to fall asleep. And then I awoke to a horrendous, building's falling down around you, BOOM! Followed by another, and another, and another... My sleep-deprived mind finally figured out that it was waves. We were crashing through them. Our cabin was in the very front of the ship, so as the ship crested a wave, it would slam back into the water. So much for sleep, it's overrated anyway.

Saturday morning at 9am we had our last scheduled activity. And it was so sunny and beautiful, I went up on deck (I needed AIR) and sat there on a beach chair all day. The winds were wiping, about 30mph, but I found a lee and had a great time reading my book and talking to people as they passed by. My 30 SPF sunblock kept me burn free, except for the spot I missed on my ankle and my ear, I always miss somewhere.

That evening was our dressy reception and dinner. I had bought a new blouse and was looking pretty girly in my skirt. We had some drinks, went to dinner, and then hit the dance club. SS and I danced our toes off, with a friendly group of friends and strangers. I even got the DJ to play Relax for me, my favorite dance song. The lack of sleep was catching up fast, and I new if I stopped, I'd be done. So we danced, and danced, and danced.

That night, the BANG-ing had lessened to every once in a while, so I got some much needed sleep. The following morning we had to be up so SS could disembark, she was on one of the first off the ship. I was supposed to disembark at 1:45, then re-embark, then disembark again at 3 (port rules are so funny). They had food, and I'd been thinking I'd wait until I got back on board to eat, needed to be full for the foodless flight that wouldn't get in to Worcester until 8pm... But around 12:30 I was hungry, so I figured, OK, I'd eat, then have a snack before leaving. Good thing, because at the first disembarking, we never got back on the ship. Instead we sat on the charted bus. And sat. And sat... Turns out the plane had mechanical issues, so they were getting us another plane, and expecting a 1 1/2 hour delay. But did they let us back on the ship? No.

We finally headed off for the airport, and when we arrived, we pulled up to the security gate (charters don't go out from the main terminal in Miami), and they waved us to the side. Where we sat and waited, and waited, and waited... We had 3 busses of people when we left the port, but only 2 arrived at the airport, and they wouldn't let us enter until we all arrived. Ugh.

When we finally got to the plane, they rushed us through "security", a few tables set up with people to rummage through our carryons and others to wave us down with a wand. Very strange, my knee didn't set off the wand... For those that don't know, I have metal in my knee from and ACL reconstruction and have a habit of setting off metal detectors. Especially wands that are supposed to be more sensative. Not that I was going to tell them that!

We finally headed home, and got 2 bags(!) of chips on the plane, which almost everybody devoured (I think a lot of people were going to eat once they got re-embarked). I had some snacks I'd brought with me, and I offered to share with my seat-mates, so we were probably the least hungry of those on the plane. Hypoglycemia comes in handy sometimes...

At 9:30 my friend MB and I left the airport, and I was home, saying hello to E and the kitties by 10:45. All in all, DEFINETLY not the worst trip home I've had!

On the last day when I was waiting for my turn to disembark the ship, people were asking me what my favorite part was. I couldn't figure it out then, but I have now. Towel animals.